QCinema 2023 is Elevated on its 11th Year

In its eleventh year, the QCinema International Film Festival continues its growth as a major player in the international festival scene, adding new sections and new programs that aim to elevate every Filipino festival-goer’s experience.

This year’s edition of QCinema has again some of the most acclaimed films on the festival circuit in its lineup, including festival award-winners and Oscars entries.


Opening and Closing Film

The opening film is the Golden Lion winner in this year’s prestigious Venice Film Festival – Poor Things.

Headlined by Emma Stone, this astonishing new feature by Yorgos Lanthimos is a dark sexy comedy, set in Victorian-era London, about a resurrected woman who embarks on a fantastical journey in reinventing herself.

Director Lanthimos is no stranger to QCinema where his Killing of a Sacred Deer had its Asian premiere in 2018.

Closing the festival is The Breaking Ice by Anthony Chen, Singapore’s entry to the 2024 Academy Awards.

The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section, highlighting emerging art-house directors and daring films. The Generation Z drama follows the relationships of three tourists over a snowy city.

Director Anthony Chen had also been part of our festival with his 2018 film, The Wet Season, as QCinema’s closing film that year.

Competition Sections

The 10-day festival, slated from November 17 to 29, also features 60 other titles, divided in 10 sections, including three competition sections.

Its main competition section, the Asian Next Wave, has 10 directorial debuts from Asian filmmakers. The section includes Cannes, Venice, and Udine award-winners and two Oscars entries.

These films vying for a Pylon Award are Abang Adik by Jin Ong, Gitling by Jopy Arnaldo, Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell by Thien An Pham, Last Shadow At First Light by Nicole Midori Woodford, Love Is A Gun by Lee Hong-chi, Mimang by Kim Tae-yang, Solids By The Seashore by Patiparn Boontarig, and Tiger Stripes by Amanda Nell Eu.

Abang Adik won at the Udine’s Far East Film Festival the Golden Mulberry audience award, the Black Dragon Critics’ prize, and best first feature. Inside The Yellow Cocoon Shell won the Caméra d’Or or Best Feature Film at Cannes. Love Is A Gun is the first Taiwanese film to win the best first feature at the Venice International Film Festival. Tiger Stripes won Critics’ Week Grand Prize at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival. Gitling is Cinemalaya’s Best Screenplay winner.


Its two other competition sections are for short films, which are QCShorts and QCSEA.

QCShorts, a festival mainstay, features films that received generous grants from QCinema. These are A Catholic School Girl by Myra Angeline Soriaso, Abutan Man Tayo ng Houselights by Apa Agbayani, Animal Lovers by Aedrian Araojo, Microplastics by Lino Balmes, Tamgohoy by Roxlee, and Tumatawa, Umiiyak by Che Tagyamon.

QCSEA, a fresh section, includes 10 shorts from Southeast Asia. The films are Basri And Salma In A Never-Ending Comedy by Khozy Rizal, Buoyant by Toan Thanh Doan and Hoang-Phuc Nguyen-Le, Cross My Heart And Hope To Die

by Sam Manacsa, Dominion by Bea Mariano, Hito by Stephen Lopez, I Look Into The Mirror And Repeat Myself  by Giselle Lin, Kung nga-a Conscious ang mga Alien sang ila Skincare (The Thing About Aliens And Their Skin Care) by Seth Andrew Blanca and Niño Maldecir, The Altar by Moe Myat May Zarchi, and When You Left Me On That Boulevard by Kayla Abuda Galang.


Exhibition Sections

The much-awaited Screen International, New Horizons, Restored Classics, RainbowQC, and Special Screenings also have something for every cinephile.

Screen International, which features works from world-renowned directors, has the best films from the most distinguished film festivals.

These include Locarno Golden Leopard winner Critical Zone by Ali Ahmadzadeh and Special Jury Prize winner Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World by Radu Jude.

Venice Grand Jury Prize and FIPRESCI Award winner Evil Does not Exist by Ryusuke Hamaguchi is also in this year’s Screen International.

This section also has Cannes Jury Prize winner at the Palme d’Or Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Perfect Days by Wim Wenders, and Best Director winner The Taste of Things by Trần Anh.

Also in this section is Berlin Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize winner Afire by Christian Petzold. Completing the lineup are Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers and Sweet Dreams by Ena Sendijarević.

In New Horizons, five films, all directorial debuts, make up the section.

These are City Of Wind by Lkhagvadulam Purev-Ochir, Foremost By Night by Victor Iriarte, Scrapper by Charlotte Regan, Through The Night by Delphine Girard, and Women From Rote Island by Jeremias Nyangoen.

Scrapper is the Grand Jury Prize winner for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Restored Classics, a regular QCinema crowd-drawer, has Wong Kar-wai classics Chungking Express and Fallen Angels by Wong Kar-wai. Also included are Enter the Dragon by Robert Clouse and A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick

This year’s RainbowQC, one of the most distinctive sections this side of Southeast Asia, has four show-stoppers.

These are Mutt by Vuk Langulov-Klotz, Passages by Ira Sachs, Peter Von Kant by François Ozon, and Woman Of… by Michał Englert and Małgorzata Szumowska.


Mutt’s Lío Mehiel won the Special Jury Award for Best Acting at Sundance.

Lav Diaz returns to QCinema at the Special Screenings section with his film Essential Truths of The Lake.


Other films are Irreversible: Straight Cut by Gaspar Noé, Karaoke by Moshe Rosenthal, Only the River Flows by Wei Shujun, Raging Grace by Paris Zarcilla, Saltburn by Emerald Fennell, Strange Way of Life and The Human Voice by Pedro Almodóvar.


Only the River Flows  is Best Film at the Pingyao Int’l Film Festival.

Before Midnight also makes a comeback. Its 2023 lineup includes Hungry Ghost Diner by We Jun Cho, Femme by Sam H. Freeman and Ng Choon Ping, River by Junta Yamaguchi, and Red Rooms by Pascal Plante

This year also witnessed the rebirth of QCinema’s documentary section. Now called QCDox, the section has three interesting real-life stories. These are Divine Factory by Joseph Mangat, Nowhere Near by Miko Revereza, and National Anarchist: Lino Brocka by Khavn.

The films Afire, City Of Wind, Do Not Expect Too Much from the End of the World, Fallen Leaves, Perfect Days, Sweet Dreams, Tiger Stripes,The Breaking Ice, and The Taste of Things are their respective countries’ Academy Awards submissions.

Screenings will be held at the cinemas of Gateway Mall, Robinsons Magnolia, UP Town Center, Shangri-la Plaza, and Power Plant Mall. 


Other Programs

Aside from these films, QCinema is also introducing two new adjacent features this year.

QCinema Project Market (QPM) will connect promising projects from the Philippines and the rest of Asia with producers to help give these films funding. This is an extension of QCinema’s original grant program, and the QPM will itself be giving out cash grants to the best projects in attendance.

The QCinema Young Film Critics Lab is another new program. It will gather a group of young Filipinos interested in creating content around film and offer them access to industry professionals to help foster their burgeoning careers.

To be held also in conjunction with QCinema is the International Film Industry Conference, which is co-organized by the Film Development Council of the Philippines. The event offers an international platform to continue the synergy of the industry by featuring talks from experts and professionals.

The elevated theme also continues with its collaboration with renowned Filipino artist Dex Fernandez, known for his iconic creation ‘Garapata’ .